On the eve of destruction

The Republicans are getting all their ducks in a row for their big project of destroying everything now that they have the chance.

For six years, since they took back the House of Representatives, Republicans have added to a pile of legislation that moldered outside the White House. In their thwarted agenda, financial regulations were to be unspooled. Business taxes were to be slashed. Planned Parenthood would be stripped of federal funds. The ­Affordable Care Act was teed up for repeal — dozens of times.

When the 115th Congress begins this week, with Republicans firmly in charge of the House and Senate, much of that legislation will form the basis of the most ambitious conservative policy agenda since the 1920s. And rather than a Democratic president standing in the way, a soon-to-be-inaugurated Donald Trump seems ready to sign much of it into law.

Please, tell us again how it’s all the fault of the coastal elite liberals in their bubble of disdain for the white working class. Tell us again how these people seized power by being so much more attuned to the working class than the left is.

This year’s agenda from House and Senate Republicans has clarity that was often lacking from Trump’s own campaign. Senate Republicans favor using a procedure known as “budget reconciliation,” in which measures can be passed with a simple 51-vote majority rather than a filibuster-proof 60 votes, to tackle the ACA and to undo much of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform.

As part of undoing the financial overhaul law, some GOP leaders have begun planning strategies for how to effectively kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, whether by giving Congress control over its budget or finding cause to replace its director, Richard Cordray, with a weaker board.

It’s so elitist to think consumers should have protection, isn’t it? The democratic, populist, people-loving thing to do is let corporations make and market whatever they like however they like, and respect us enough to assume we can tell when they’re cheating or poisoning or shortchanging or overcharging us without any help from the government.

GOP leaders have cited the 21-year old Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to cast simple majority votes of disapproval for regulations, as a way to block anything the administration has ordered since June 2016.

Since its passage, the CRA has been used only once. But in December, the conservative House Freedom Caucus began compiling a list of more than 200 regulations it views as vulnerable to a disapproval vote. They include “burdensome” school lunch standards, tobacco regulations, laws that set higher wages for contractors and elements of the Paris climate-change agreement.

“Talking to some individuals with the Trump transition team, they are taking this extremely serious[ly],” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told the Heritage Foundation last month.

Republicans intend to supplement the CRA by enacting a law that would subject any regulation with an economic impact greater than $100 million to a vote of Congress, a change that would have prevented nearly every climate or employment rule change of the Obama years. The measure, called the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or Reins, is a conservative priority that passed the Republican House in 2011, 2013 and 2015 with backing from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Republican aides now hope for a vote on Reins in the coming days so it can be sent for Trump’s signature immediately after he is sworn in on Jan. 20.

Great. Make it so that profit is the only criterion for everything, and let the fun begin.

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